Varad­kar doubts pub­lic sup­port for abor­tion rec­om­men­da­tions

The Irish Times - - Home News - SARAH BARDON

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar has said he does not be­lieve the coun­try would sup­port the Cit­i­zens’ Assem­bly’s rec­om­men­da­tions on abor­tion.

Mr Varad­kar, Tá­naiste Frances Fitzger­ald and Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs Si­mon Coveney were ques­tioned at the Fine Gael think-in yes­ter­day on their views on the body’s pro­pos­als, which in­clude ac­cess to ter­mi­na­tions with no re­stric­tion on rea­sons.

The Min­is­ters in­sisted there was a need for a re­spect­ful and thor­ough de­bate. How­ever, each stressed their be­lief that the rec­om­men­da­tions would not re­ceive the sup­port of the ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic.

Mr Varad­kar said: “I hon­estly don’t know if the pub­lic would go as far as what the Cit­i­zens’ Assem­bly have rec­om­mended.

“Pub­lic opin­ion polls have in­di­cated that they wouldn’t, but that may change dur­ing the course of the de­bate, and hav­ing ob­served the Cit­i­zens’ Assem­bly and how that de­bate evolved, we have be­come aware of the avail­abil­ity of abor­tion pills and how they work.

“It is ac­tu­ally quite pos­si­ble that peo­ple’s views may change as we have the de­bate.”

First meet­ing

The Oireach­tas com­mit­tee ex­am­in­ing the Eighth Amend­ment is to hold its first pub­lic meet­ing next week with the chair­woman of the assem­bly, Ms Jus­tice Mary Laf­foy.

The 21-mem­ber com­mit­tee is be­ing asked to as­sess each of the pro­pos­als made by the assem­bly.

Fine Gael TDs will have a free vote on the com­mit­tee and in the Dáil and Seanad on the rec­om­men­da­tions that arise from their de­lib­er­a­tions.

Mr Varad­kar said mem­bers would be al­lowed to cam­paign on ei­ther side of the ar­gu­ment if a ref­er­en­dum arose..

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